“Oh mercy, mercy meAh things ain’t what they used to beWhat about this overcrowded landHow much more abuse from man can she stand?”-- Marvin Gaye
“Who would guess that Citizens for Recycling First is a coal industryfront group promoting the use of coal ash in industry? The Greening EarthSociety sounds green, but it’s in favor of CO2 emissions.”EYES WIDE OPEN is about the global environmental issues that -- if notdealt with substantively -- will make Planet Earth uninhabitable forhumankind.
But even more importantly, EYES WIDE OPEN is a book about informationliteracy. It shows how the world really works in the 21st century, and itrepeatedly reveals how people are often duped into opposing their own bestinterests.
One of the most important concepts presented by Paul Fleischman is theneed to understand and recognize vested interests:“If you owned an energy-drink factory, your desire to make a profit wouldgive you a vested interest in opposing laws that would keep your productout of school vending machines. You’d no doubt belong to a trade group thatwould hire lobbyists to fight such laws. Your trade group would hirepublic relations (PR) firms to improve the public’s opinion of energy drinksthrough ads, articles, Facebook posts, tweets, and the ‘talking heads’ yousee interviewed on TV news. The information dispersed might or might not beaccurate. Its goal isn’t truth but promoting energy drinks.
“This distinction is crucial. Impartial investigators have nothing togain from their particular findings. They test and revise them in acontinuing quest for accuracy. This is the model science follows. Vested interests’ prime goal is preserving their power, not seeking truth. The evidenceis all around you. When powerful people or institutions are accused ofmisconduct -- from army massacres and police brutality cases to clergysex-abuse scandals and cyclist Lance Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancingdrugs -- the first reaction is almost always to refute the charge, no matterhow accurate. If the truth is a threat to power, money, or reputation, there’s a strong motive to cover it up.”
In a past era, students were expected to memorize a limited body ofinformation and regurgitate it during tests. But today, the forever-growingwealth of information makes it essential for students to learn how to efficiently search for, retrieve, and evaluate the information they need to answerquestions and solve problems. EYES WIDE OPEN provides a common senseframework for understanding why we regularly encounter so much misinformation.EYES WIDE OPEN is an apt title for this indispensable book. Issues ofworldwide population growth, of increases in production of and consumption ofstuff, of the race to exploit fossil fuels, of the need to produce largerand larger amounts of food, and the climate changes that result from allthese other global issues don’t cause us to react in the same way that the 9/11attacks did. Most of us are ignorant of the planet- and people-damagingprocesses through which our stuff and energy and food are produced. We cango on forever blind to what’s really going on, unless we begin to payattention.
Throughout EYES WIDE OPEN, Paul Fleischman refers to dozens of other booksand information resources, each of which will further enlighten readersabout these environmental and information issues. One could readily build acomprehensive course of study around these references.“‘History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they haveexhausted all other alternatives.’”
-- Abba Eban (1915-2002), as quoted in EYES WIDE OPENBarring some nick-of-time miracle cure, our generation and the ones thatfollow are eventually going to be forced by Mother Nature to wise up andmake some hard choices. Those who read EYES WIDE OPEN will have taken agiant step toward understanding these issues and the necessity for action.
978-0-7636-7102-0 208 pages Ages 13 and up
From the publisher - Candlewick Press
What's really going on with the environment?-?in our own backyards and the wider world? Conflicting information is offered by websites, magazines, and documentaries that blur the line between news and opinion. Not every report is reliable; not every interest group is actually composed of concerned citizens. In this dynamic account, award-winning author Paul Fleischman arms teens with the basic tools to uncover vested interests and falsehoods by vetting sources, following the money, and checking references so that they can make informed decisions about what actions to take in the worldwide battle against climate change, overconsumption, and dwindling resources. Extensive back matter, including a glossary, bibliography, and index, as well as numerous references to websites, provides further resources.